Journal Paper in IEEE VIS2015

Our publication Sketching designs using the Five Design-Sheet methodology was presented in IEEE VIS2015 held in Chicago, IL. More information on the FDS methodology can be found over at the project’s website, at You can have a look at the accepted papers, news and updates from the conference at VIS2015.

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Sketching designs has been shown to be a useful way of planning and considering alternative solutions. The use of low-fidelity prototyping, especially paper-based sketching, can save time, money and converge to better solutions more quickly. However, this design process is often viewed to be too informal. Consequently users do not know how to manage their thoughts and ideas (to first think divergently, to then finally converge on a suitable solution). We present the Five Design Sheet (FdS) methodology. The methodology enables users to create information visualization interfaces through lo-fidelity methods. Users sketch and plan their ideas, helping them express different possibilities, think through these ideas to consider their potential effectiveness as solutions to the task (sheet 1); they create three principle designs (sheets 2,3 and 4); before converging on a final realization design that can then be implemented (sheet 5). In this article, we present (i) a review of the use of sketching as a planning method for visualization and the benefits of sketching, (ii) a detailed description of the Five Design Sheet (FdS) methodology, and (iii) an evaluation of the FdS using the System Usability Scale, along with a case-study of its use in industry and experience of its use in teaching.

Five-design sheets - creating information visualization interfaces through lo-fidelity methods.
Figure 1: Five-design sheets - creating information visualization interfaces through lo-fidelity methods. [JPG, PDF]


  1. Roberts, J. C., Headleand, C., & Ritsos, P. D. (2016). Sketching Designs Using the Five Design-Sheet Methodology. Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions On, 22(1), 419–428. [bib]